The state’s milk production sector could soon be hosting a French revolution.The Kerala Livestock Development Board has signed a partnership agreement with UMOTEST-COOPEX, a cooperative of Montebeliarde cattle-breeding farmers in France, for improving the genetic stock of dairy cattle in Kerala.The cooperative agreed to provide 2,000 doses of frozen semen from 10 superior Montbeliarde bulls and 50 embryos of the breed for starting a technical programme in the State.
The memorandum of understanding with UMOTEST-COOPEX envisaged a cross-breeding programme, on a trial basis, for upgrading the genome base of Kerala cattle. It also proposed to establish a small nuclear herd of pure Montbeliarde breed for a breeding programme and study the adaptability of the breed in the climate and management conditions of Kerala. The cattle would be reared at the farms of KLD Board at Mattupetty and Kolahalamedu (Vagamon) where the climate was similar to that of France.
This historic deviation from the breeding policy of the state was finalized at a meeting of Mr. C. Divakaran (Minister for Animal Husbandry, Kerala), Sri.P.K Mohanty (Secretary, Animal Husbandry) and Dr.Ani.S.Das (Managing Director, KLD Board) with the Secretary-General from the French Ministry of Agriculture. During April 2010, the Director of International Co-operation, French National Livestock Technical Institute has arrived in Kerala and met KLDB officials. His visit was sequele to the visit by the Kerala Minister and MD KLD Board and their keen interest in drawing upon French experience for increasing local production at the “Space 2008 World Cattle Fair” held in Rhennes, France, last year.
The Minister (AH), MD (KLD Board), Agricultural Production Commissioner, Director of Animal Husbandry, MD (MILMA) and the Director (Dept. of Dairy development) didn’t answer to the following questions so far.
- Is the decision to introduce the Montbeliarde breed in tune with the cattle breeding policy of the State of Kerala?
- Do you think that this new breed is superior in milk production, fat percentage and conducive to the climatic conditions of Kerala? Any documentary proof to that?
- Do you plan of evolving a new breed through cross breeding of Montbeliarde with desi breeds of India?
- How did you arrive at the decision to try with Montbeliarde breed alone when other superior breeds are available around the globe?
- Was it not an impulsive decision arrived at during the cattle fair by the Minister and the MD of KLD Board?
- Did you take the scientists, veterinarians, farmers, farmers’ organizations/cooperatives, and related government departments into confidence before taking this decision?
- What is the cost involved in procuring the frozen semen and embryos?
- Did the Government of India give nod for the import of germplasm?